New Zealand Human Rights Commission – Parliament protest conciliation process
Note: This information is being released under the Official Information Act 1982
Overview of conciliation process
During the period of the protest outside Parliament from 6 February to 2 March 2022, representatives
of the Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) met with protest leaders. The Commission
considered that it had a mandate to hear the claims of these protest leaders and offered to provide a
conciliation process to try to de-escalate and potentially resolve the situation, in terms of its primary
and general functions under the Human Rights Act 1993, as well as the UN Paris Principles relating to
National Human Rights Institutions. The Commission strictly limited its engagement to those willing
to protest peacefully and respectfully. It was agreed between all involved that this conciliation process
would proceed on a confidential basis, and that no details would be made public without mutual
(Note: The necessary consents have been obtained in order to release the details contained in this
The conciliation meetings were held on the fol owing dates, between the following participants:
• 22 February 2022 – meeting between protest leaders, Commission representatives, and other
interested parties including the Police and mana whenua, and
• 2 March 2022 – meeting between protest leaders, Commission representatives, and other
interested parties including mana whenua.
The Government declined an invitation to attend the meeting on 22 February.
Through the conciliation process, the Commission sought to achieve four objectives:
• Listen to the protest leaders, and allow them an opportunity to be heard
• Help to de-escalate the Parliament protest
• Outline the role of the Commission under the Human Rights Act 1993 and its mandate to try
to contribute to a resolution of the situation, and
• Clarify in all engagements how human rights and responsibilities work together – specifically
in relation to the ‘traffic light system’.
The Commission’s role
The Commission’s role in the process involved facilitating meetings between interested parties, and
listening to the perspectives presented at the meetings. The Commission was guided throughout by
experienced staff from its Dispute Resolution team.
Arising from the conciliation process, the Commission has undertaken the following workstreams:
• A social cohesion workshop was held on 21 March 2022 with community members and cross-
• The Chief Commissioner and representatives of the Commission met with the Prime Minister
on 22 March 2022, to discuss the issue of social cohesion.
• The Commission has also initiated research based on the concerns expressed during the
conciliation process, including:
o ACC support and recognition of vaccine-related injury
o Job losses
o Loss of houses, and
o Impact on smal businesses.
Correspondence and documentation relating to external parties
The Commission has identified a bundle of documents which wil be provided to you shortly. These
documents comprise correspondence between representatives from the Commission and external
parties in relation to:
• the protest outside Parliament from 6 February 2022 to 2 March 2022;
• the Commission’s protest conciliation process; and/or
• the Police operation on 2 March 2022.
Some documents have been withheld in their entirety, as they are subject to an obligation of
confidence in terms of s 9(2)(ba) of the Official Information Act 1982 (“OIA”). Some redactions have
been applied to the documents that are included in the bundle. The relevant OIA withholding
provisions relied upon are noted within the redacted portions, as set out in the table below:
To protect the privacy of natural persons
To protect information which is subject to an obligation of
To maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free
and frank expression of opinions by or between members of an
organisation, and employees of any public service agency or
organisation, in the course of their duty
Where the information requested is comprised in a document, and
other information contained in that document is not relevant to the
Given the circumstances of the protest and the nature of the conciliation process against that context,
we consider it is in the best interests of the Commission’s staff to withhold their names and contact
details. With the exception of the Chief Commissioner, we are therefore withholding the names and
contact details of all other Commission staff. Some documents regard communications with
government officials and non-government stakeholders, and redactions have also been made to their
names and contact details.
As noted above, it was agreed by all parties to the conciliation process that while the fact of some
meetings could be made public by mutual consent, the identity of the individual attendees and details
of what was discussed in these meetings would remain confidential. Accordingly, we are withholding
all documents that relate directly to attendees and all documents concerning details of what was
discussed in the meetings, with regard to the Commission’s obligation of confidence, to protect
privacy, and avoid prejudicing the future supply of similar information.
In reaching these decisions, the Commission considers that, in the circumstances, these reasons for
withholding are not outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public
interest, to make the information available.
We note that the Commission has received a range of further correspondence from external parties
relating to the protests outside Parliament, the protest conciliation process and the police operation
on 2 March 2022. This correspondence includes:
• a number of requests from the media, which the Commission’s Communications team have
responded to, and
• over 70 contacts received by the Commission’s Human Rights Information and Support
Services Team. By way of context, the Commission has received over 5,000 total contacts
related to Covid-19 since early 2020 and, over 2,000 of these contacts have been received
since 1 December 2021, as the ‘traffic light system’ was introduced. These contacts include
both enquiries and complaints. A relatively smal proportion of these contacts constitute
complaints alleging unlawful discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1993. For these
complaints, the Commission can offer impartial dispute resolution to help parties resolve their
complaints. Please note the Commission does not investigate complaints, give legal advice,
make decisions, or impose penalties.
Internal correspondence and documentation
Following initial contact from protest leaders in February 2022, Commission staff were engaged in a
significant volume of internal correspondence regarding the protest conciliation process. Within the
Chief Commissioner’s team, there was logistical correspondence to arrange the meetings with protest
representatives and other interested parties on 22 February and 2 March 2022. This correspondence
involved arranging hybrid in-person and online meetings, confirming internal and external attendees,
and setting agendas for the meetings. Commission staff also passed on confidential information
provided by protest participants to the Chief Commissioner in preparation for the conciliation
meetings. Representatives of the Commission who attended the conciliation meetings also repeatedly
sought advice from the Commission’s Disputes Resolution team as to how the conciliation process
should be run. A media release was drafted following the meeting on 22 February 2022 and was
released later that night. The media release was updated on the morning of 23 February 2022.
Internally, the Commission’s wider staff were updated by the Chief Commissioner’s team as to the
approach being taken to the conciliation process.